Editorial: 24th November 2009

 
 

The investigation conducted by this newspaper in to the security of our confidential personal information has provided shocking results. That we could so easily obtain the full transcript of two graduates, printed on UCD headed paper, signed by the Registrar and embossed with the UCD logo is both extremely worrying and dangerous. Luckily we are not out to use the information obtained for any malicious purpose, but there are many others in society whose intentions are not so honourable.

twt-av-editorial-300x300Serious questions have been raised, and must be asked of the administrative procedures in UCD Registry. It’s difficult to think that staff in the office handed out these documents through carelessness or negligence. A rather more appealing, and fitting reason could be one of simple trust – but in the era of laptops full of bank details, social security numbers and customer information going missing on planes, trains and automobiles, can UCD Registry really afford to place so much faith in the motives of other people?

It’s a sad fact, but someone, somewhere could use this information to do harm, and so UCD staff must be more suspicious, must be more conscientious and must be more careful in their dealings with sensitive personal information. New guidelines must be implemented to ensure that students’ and graduates’ details are protected from those out to do harm.

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This week has seen yet another problem with examinations in the Quinn School of Business, yet another upheaval for students during a busy revision period, yet another mark against the administrative processes in UCD.

An MCQ, which should have contributed 25 per cent of students’ grade for the semester has been cancelled after two students photocopied the paper to distribute among the class.

While university authorities are quick to blame the students in this affair, it must be said that a degree of negligence has permeated the organisation of this exam. If two classes of students are to take an MCQ in the same subject on different days, then they should be different MCQs. Repeating the same exam two days after the original is not only a faintly ridiculous concept, but an extremely lazy approach to examinations. Preachng about “cute hoorism” and cheating should not be the first action of someone who did not take the time to ensure a level playing field for all students involved.

Were all the first batch of students honest enough not to remove the paper, the questions would undoubtedly still make their way to the second group prior to the examination. When two different groups sit the same exam at different times, the second group will always have an unfair advantage. How can that possibly be construed as a fair system of grading?

Furthermore, the control of the examination centre must come under scrutiny. How did the students in question manage to make their way out of the room with a copy of the paper? Is the policy of this university not that all exam papers be collected at the end of the examination period?

It’s easy to blame these two students, and they should be punished for their actions, but if the other parts played in this most recent exam shambles in the Quinn School are downplayed – or worse overlooked – then something is rotten in the state of Belfield.

Our last issue, not only of the semester, or of the year, but of the decade is upon us and truthfully rather more swiftly than we thought possible!

On behalf of everyone at The University Observer I wish all our readers the very best in their exams, and a peaceful, happy holiday.

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